Kansas University pilot Robert Custer was flying high Wednesday.
Custer was out putting in air time in the university's newest acquisition, a Cessna Citation Bravo. The plane arrived in Lawrence from Wichita in the early afternoon with Custer at the controls.
The $4 million Cessna replaces a 1973 Beechcraft King Air that was recently sold to an air service in Ottawa.
"The old plane was grounded for much of the summer," director of university relations Tom Hutton said.
The university also owns another plane, a 1982 Beech King Air C-90, still in use.
The new plane is powered by jet propulsion instead of using a propeller, Hutton said.
"That's the real advantage," he said. "It's fast, fuel-efficient and safe."
The Bravo can fly at speeds up to 450 miles per hour and was financed by private donations to the KU Endowment Association.
The university initially received criticism for the decision to purchase the plane, but Hutton said it was the most logical choice.
"The 1973 engine was in need of substantial work," he said. "A complete overhaul of the engine , which will have to be done soon, would have cost $400,000 to $500,000. It was more advisable to replace it than repair it."
Among the first to use the plane will be Dr. Kimberly Templeton. Templeton, a doctor of orthopedic surgery at the KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., will fly to Salina early today for a clinic. With the new plane's speed, she'll be back in Kansas City before lunch, Hutton said.